ITCN Asia ’23 Explores the Future of Technology and Innovation:
The conference was a gathering of Pakistan’s tech ecosystem, including government officials, executives, innovators, and decision-makers, who came together to discuss the future of technology and innovation. Zong 4G’s innovative products and services, such as 4G internet, 5G testing, and the Internet of Things, have empowered businesses and consumers in the country. The event also saw the commercial showcasing of ECCL’s Mobile Financial Solution ‘PayMax.’ PayMax offers instant money transfers to any bank account, along with various other digital payments, and is known to be the most secure MFS in the market, with AI-enabled facial recognition. Zong 4G’s Chairman and CEO, Mr. Wang Hua, was also present at the event and spoke as a keynote speaker on Digital Advancement in Pakistan.
PBA, Avanza Ink Deal to Develop Pakistan’s First Blockchain-Based Banking Platform:
The Pakistan Banks’ Association (PBA) has signed a project agreement with the Avanza Group to develop and implement the country’s first blockchain-based national electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) banking platform. The signing ceremony took place at the PBA office in Karachi. PBA Chairman Muhammad Aurangzeb, who is also the president of HBL, Akhter Javed, director of BPRD SBP, Tawfiq Hussain, CEO of PBA, Waqas Mirza, and Omer Khan, CEO of Avanza Solutions (Pvt) Ltd all attended the ceremony.
PTA Decides Not to Allow Elon Musk’s Starlink to Operate in Pakistan:
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has not yet granted a license to the satellite-based internet service provider “Starlink.” According to detailed discussions with various quarters and relevant stakeholders, PTA said that the security of data is not the only concern regarding Starlink’s operations in Pakistan, but also its business model and technical arrangements which are yet to be addressed by the company.
New Research Aims to Reduce Pakistan’s Oilseed Import Bills:
A group of Pakistani scientists and researchers at the Islamia University of Bahawalpur’s (IUB) National Research Center of Intercropping (NRCI) are exploring strip intercropping technology to help decrease import costs for food commodities, notably soybeans. Dr. Muhammad Ali Raza, a postdoctoral researcher at China’s Sichuan Agricultural University (SAU), has already been promoting this technology in Pakistan with his mentor Yang Wenyu.
VEON’s Mobilink Bank Becomes First Microfinance Bank Globally to Join GSMA Connected Women Commitment Initiative:
VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ: VEON, Euronext Amsterdam: VEON), a global digital operator that provides converged connectivity and online services, today announces that Mobilink Microfinance Bank Ltd. (MMBL), its banking operation in Pakistan, has signed up to the GSMA’s Connected Women Commitment Initiative, becoming the first microfinance bank, globally, to do so. The GSMA Connected Women Commitment Initiative was set up in 2016 to accelerate digital and financial inclusion for women across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Since the inception of the Commitment Initiative, over 40 mobile operators have made formal commitments and have collectively reached over 55 million additional women with mobile internet and mobile money services.
PTA and NADRA Sign MoU for Enhancing Future Projects:
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at PTA Headquarters in Islamabad, which will have a significant impact at the national level for digital, social, and economic transformation. The various areas of collaboration include the adoption of new ICT technologies for e-governance initiatives, biometric verification innovations, and the use of ICTs to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets and contribute to the Government of Pakistan’s “Vision 2025”. The collaboration will strengthen and streamline ongoing and future programs including Digital Identity, Multi-finger Biometric Verification System, and Fraud Detection & Prevention to achieve organizational goals.
These Are the World’s Most Expensive Websites Ever and Their Current Traffic:
A new study by web hosting provider, Hostinger, has identified the top 7 most expensive domain names in history to see their current figure, including their monthly traffic. The most expensive domain on the list is Voice.com, bought in 2019 for a whopping $30 million. However, according to SimilarWeb, the website’s monthly traffic currently stands at just 88,800, suggesting that the investment may not have been worth it. Other domain names in the list include 360.com, which currently receives 23.9 million monthly visitors, making it the 154th biggest website in China. Hotels.com, which was sold for $11 million in 2001, receives around 44.5 million visitors per month.
tabiyat.pk’s Clever Billboard Takes a Dig at Competitor, Steals the Show:
Tabiyat.pk, the leading online pharmacy, has once again impressed the audience with its innovative and humorous marketing strategy. The popular health and wellness startup has just put up a hilarious billboard that takes a witty dig at its competitor Ehad Pharmacy – and it’s already causing quite a stir! Located in the bustling Federal B area in Karachi, the billboard features a model pointing out at Ehad Pharmacy, with the line “Inn se na ho payega!”, which loosely translates to “They won’t be able to do it”. This lighthearted approach to marketing has quickly garnered attention, with people praising the company for its humorous take on the healthcare industry.
3G/4G Users in Pakistan Near 123 Million:
The number of 3G and 4G users in Pakistan increased by 1.27 million from 121.54 million by end-December 2022 to 122.81 million by end-January 2023, according to data issued by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). The number of cellular subscribers in Pakistan remained the same, at 192.78 million by end-January. The Monthly Next Generation Mobile Service (NGMS) penetration increased from 54.43 percent by end-December to 54.91 percent by end-January.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Series Price Revealed in Pakistan:
Nearly a month after its release, Samsung Galaxy S23 phones are finally out in Pakistan for pre-orders. Pre-bookings were already available on Samsung Pakistan’s official website, but the official price tags have just been revealed now through Daraz. You can now pre-order a Galaxy S23 or the Galaxy S23 Ultra from Daraz, but only in one memory option. The vanilla Galaxy S23 (256 GB) is going for Rs. 400,000, while the Galaxy S23 Ultra (512 GB) is available for a staggering Rs. 560,000.
London Fire Brigade staff faced over 160 disciplinary cases in 2020-2022:
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned there is “no hiding place” for London Fire Brigade staff, after new data revealed 163 disciplinary cases were heard against workers over two years. The figures obtained by the BBC reveal the allegations, including misuse of social media, were probed from 2020-22. Eight cases led to written and final warnings after it was found staff had used “inappropriate language”. LFB says it takes a “zero-tolerance approach” to discrimination.
Robotaxi tech improves but can they make money?:
It is past midnight on a quiet residential street in San Francisco and I have just left a taxi with a nagging feeling I didn’t close the door properly. Normally I wouldn’t worry, but this isn’t a normal ride. It is a Cruise robotaxi with no human driver to close the door. I go back to check and sure enough, it was a wak push. A human voice pipes up on a speaker checking everything is OK. I apologise about the door, but I also press her. What if I hadn’t come back? We would take care of it, she reassures me.
Care leaver parent who feels judged calls for change:
Holly says her childhood in care was traumatic, and now she feels judged as a parent by social services. She says being in care does not mean that you’ll be a bad parent, and that it should not be used as a reason for a social services referral. A Senedd committee says it is time to “break the cycle'” of young people from care having their own children removed.
The Welsh government says it has set out an ambitious programme to radically reform children’s services. Cardiff University research shows that more than a quarter of birth mothers and a fifth of birth fathers with children placed for adoption had been in care themselves.
Bafta Games Awards: God of War leads nominations with 14:
The return of Kratos and his son Atreus to the PlayStation has received the most nominations for the 2023 Bafta Games Awards. God of War: Ragnarok, which sees players battle with Norse gods, is in the running to win 14 of the famous golden masks. Cat simulator and underground success story Stray is nominated eight times. Dark fantasy roleplaying epic Elden Ring, which won big at The Game Awards, is nominated seven times. The awards are one of the most prestigious nights in the calendar for the gaming industry. God of War: Ragnarok is the follow-up to the Bafta-winning God of War, and has become the most-nominated game since these awards began in 2004.
WH Smith staff data hit by cyber-attack:
High Street retailer WH Smith has been hit by a cyber-attack, with hackers accessing some of its workers’ data. Data that may have been breached includes names, addresses, National Insurance numbers and dates of birth of the firm’s current and former UK staff. However, its website, customer accounts and customer databases are not affected, WH Smith said. The company said it had launched an investigation and had told the relevant authorities of the incident. “WH Smith takes the issue of cyber-security extremely seriously and investigations into the incident are ongoing,” it said.